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Ambassadorial Credentials Questioned, 'Kommersant' Libel Case

Mikhail Zurabov, the newly appointed Russian ambassador to Ukraine, speaks at the ambassador's credentials handover ceremony on January 25 in Kyiv

De Facto Ambassador Still Not De Jure

Mikhail Zurabov, Russia’s new ambassador to Ukraine, arrived in Kyiv on Monday following months of delay since his appointment. But Zurabov’s credentials do not mention outbound Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, which amounts to a breach of diplomatic protocol.

Despite the breach, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Zurabov’s paperwork is in order. In an interview with RFE/RL, Anatoly Adamishin, former minister for CIS affairs and former Russian ambassador to the UK, explains that for an ambassadorial assignment to become de jure, credentials must be signed by the head of state of the host country.

"Any games with credentials are an affront to the country that they concern," he says. "If you don’t like the person to whom the documents are to be submitted, then wait, as we have done.”

[read in Russian]

Nemtsov, 'Kommersant' Ready For European Court

On January 26, the Moscow City Court postponed an appeal by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of a partial verdict against opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and the newspaper "Kommersant" on charges of libel. The court did rule that the daily is not required to pay court costs prior to its own appeal. Nemtsov’s lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, described the ruling as a minor victory.

Nemtsov, who has joined "Kommersant"’s appeal against the Zamoskvoretsky Court’s ruling, tells RFE/RL that he is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“European practice in such cases is absolutely clear when it involves persecution for public criticism of a political figure, all the more so when there are facts about gigantic corruption that the criticized person doesn’t even argue against," he says.

[read in Russian]